Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Australasian Journal of Philosophy

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Australasian Journal of Philosophy

Article excerpt

Vol. 78, No. 3, September 2000

Smith on Truthmakers, DOMINIC GREGORY

Axiological Atomism, GRAHAM ODDIE

Value is either additive or else it is subject to organic unity. In general we have organic unity where a complex whole is not simply the sum of its parts. Value exhibits organic unity if the value of a complex, whether a complex state or complex quality, is greater or less than the sum of the values of its components or parts. Whether or not value is additive might be thought to be of purely metaphysical interest, but it is also connected with important aspects of evaluative reasoning. Additivity is closely connected with principles of bare difference and separability which are often tacitly assumed in value theory. The author spells out these principles and trace their connections with additivity and organic unity. The author then develops an unpleasant paradox of additivity. Additivity apparently entails nihilism: that nothing is more valuable than anything else. Additivity involves a kind of axiological atomism--that complexes decompose into components or factors; that these factors possess value independently of their role in valuable complexes; and that the the factors do not interact in their production of overall value. In order to avoid the paradox it seems as though the factors have to be akin to the metaphysically privileged states of logical atomism--a doctrine that does not enjoy widespread support. The paradox poses a problem not only for the notions of organic unity and additivity, but also for the closely related bare-difference principles which lie at the heart of value theory and of its application. The author proposes a way of eliminating the paradox, and thereby saving additivity and separability, without presupposing an unpalatable variant of logical atomism. The author closes with the proposal to treat principles of additivity as regulative ideals in our search for intrinsic values.

Mind-Brain Identity and the Nature of States, DAVID HUNTER

Resemblance Nominalism and Russell's Regress, GONZALO RODRIGUEZ-PEREYRA

Prudence and the Reasons of Rational Persons, DUNCAN MACINTOSH

Hume said the reasons fixing the rationality of an agent's acts are the desires he has when acting: his acts are rational if and only if they advance these desires. …

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